Feb 3, 2009 KV Kiva HQ
By Skylar Woodward
Introducing the Kiva API

Hello!  We're brimming over with excitement here at Kiva Headquarters because today we get to introduce you to the Kiva API.  We've been working hard over the past 4 months, crafting this interface so that anyone with a bit of software savvy can help us create new applications, tools, and features for the Kiva lending community. All you need to get started is a bit of instruction – the Kiva API is completely open and no developer registration is required to use it. The Kiva API begins as a set of RESTful web services, focused primarily on the tasks of fetching public data from Kiva.  For example, here's are some of the things you can request through the API:

  • all of the loans at Kiva currently raising funds
  • all of the entrepreneurs from Uganda and Peru which have fully repaid their loans
  • the latest lending activity on Kiva
  • financial nitty-gritty for any of our loans
  • the list of loans made by any one of Kiva's lenders with a public lender page

All of this data is delivered with well-formed computer-friendly markup (e.g. JSON or XML) making it easy to integrate into applications.  And, this list is just a start. Keep up with us here at build.kiva.org as we post news about new API methods and tools for development. Eventually, we intend to make it possible to recreate the entire lending experience on top of the API! So what will you build? If you're at a loss for ideas we've started a running list of many of the great ideas we've heard about so far. Here are a few:

  • an application for iPhone or Blackberry that let's you keep up with Kiva on the go
  • a service where lenders can register for alerts on new entrepreneurs they want to fund
  • integration into a social network where friends can engage around each others' activity and loan updates on Kiva
  • a map that simulates the realtime transfer of funds across the globe

If you already have a cool site or service, the killer app may in fact be how you integrate Kiva with that!  Once you've got something started, feel free to share it with the rest of us in our Google Group. Of course, we'll also be happy to help you there if you get stuck with something.  For those of you who aren't developers, feel free to poke around and share your ideas with us.  We'll promise to keep you updated in newsletters and at www.kiva.org with all the coolest creations. We created the Kiva API because we know the idea of Kiva is bigger than any number of people we can sit in our offices or send into the field. Our website has already done so much to connect people and bring new opportunity to the developing world, but it is nothing compared to the impact we think that technology and microfinance together will have to alleviate poverty. It is going to take a lot of innovation, a lot of creativity, and a lot of passionate people bringing the opportunity of loans to places they've never been. Because we believe in the power of you as a part of this open and transparent community we are opening our digital doors today and asking you to help us change the world with loans.

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